The International Organization for Migration said Wednesday that the deadly flooding that hit eastern Libya has displaced more than 30,000 people.
The U.N. agency said at least 30,000 of the displaced were from the city of Derna, with thousands more from other areas including Benghazi.
More than 5,000 people are believed dead, with exact figures difficult to confirm in the country where rival governments have competed for control for a decade. Some officials say that number could double.
Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters that more than 5,300 bodies had been counted in Derna. The city was the hardest hit after Mediterranean Storm Daniel brought torrential rains and two dams collapsed.
Fatma Balha, a medical student in Derna, told VOA English to Africa’s Hassuna Baishu that the center of Derna has suffered major damage.
“It’s all gone. All the buildings are gone. It all went with the floods, probably they have gone to the sea. We cannot see the building,” Balha said. “I have my aunt. She’s there and we cannot find her. None of her kids, none of their bodies, none. Not even the building. It’s gone. It’s not there at all.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Wednesday the situation in Derna is very bad and that international support is needed.
Mey Al Sayegh, the head of communications at the IFRC Middle East and North Africa office, said in a briefing on X that there is no clean drinking water in Derna and no medical supplies and that the only hospital in the city could no longer take patients.
Al Sayegh said what is needed now is water, shelter, medical aid, food and psychosocial support.
Ahmed Bayram, media advisor for the Middle East for the Norwegian Refugee Council, told VOA’s James Butty that Libya had already faced challenges for years and needed funding.
“This is going to be a tragic situation for tens of thousands, not just in Derna, but also across Libya,” Bayram said. “The thing about this is that Libya, with its many problems, has been off the headlines for months, if not over a year now. Now it’s back in the spotlight and it is important to stress that Libya has been left behind. The Libya crisis has been left behind. And now it’s time for donors to get back on track and fund this emergency.”